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CFO Atwater says nation's debt rating downgrade should not affect Florida -- for now

Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater said the nation's lowered credit rating by Standard & Poor last week may cause "some pause" in the market place, but should not immediately effect Florida's own borrowing or investments.

"Florida was AAA before the downgrade, it's AAA today, and in fact the rating agencies just upgraded our longer term outlook," Atwater said. "So I don't believe that it's going to have an impact on our borrowing here in the state of Florida."

Atwater asked Ash Williams, executive director and chief investment officer of the State Board of Administration, to let the Cabinet and governor know "immediately" if he thought the state's investment portfolio needed adjustments in wake of the stock market shock.

The value of Florida's pension, which usually fluctuates, dropped by $10 billion last week, mostly likely as uneasiness over the battered global economy grew.

Here's how much Florida's pension fell since Aug. 1, according to SBA estimates.

Aug. 1 - $127.07 billion

Aug. 2 - $125.61 billion

Aug. 3 - $125.15 billion

Aug. 4 - $122.22 billion

Aug. 5 - $120.95 billion

Aug. 8 - $117.54 billion

The SBA receives a flurry of phone calls when the markets go down, said spokesman Dennis MacKee on Monday. He cautioned Floridians to remember the pension was as low as $83 billion in March 2009.

"We kind of remind them that markets go up and they go down, and if you're in it for the long haul you're generally in pretty good shape," MacKee said.